As the year came to an end, Bryan Rubin and some of his friends took part in a Barefoot Expeditions Adventure. Bryan kindly provided an account of his adventure experience with Barefoot as well as some pictures of the exciting trip they took. Please read on to learn about a Barefoot Expeditions Adventure told from a customer’s perspective. Bryan Rubin lives in New York City. Thanks to Bryan for sharing this with us!
“Our trip with Barefoot Expeditions began in Quito, as Carolina and Diego arrived to pick us up (me and three friends) at our local hotel. After driving up and out of town, we geared up for the mountain bike ride on a field high above Quito. While getting ready, we met the four others who would be riding with us towards Bellavista, and we soon started tearing down the road. On the way down, we descended dirt roads through lush landscapes in and out of the clouds, biked through small villages, passed wandering Alpacas and dodged potholes, and overly excited dogs. The weather was overcast and cool, with intermittent rain a perfect day for some biking. Carolina guided us down the trails while Diego followed with our gear in the pickup truck, which was very handy as the weather conditions shifted quickly: sun, clouds, and then rain. The hardest rain started falling about 15 minutes before lunch, and it was perfect timing as we came upon a riverside shelter where Diego and Carolina prepared a feast for the group: rolls and bread for sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, avocado and hearts of palm, plantain and yucca chips, fruit, swirl cake and bon-bons. After lunch, we completed the downhill ride into another small town at the base of a 6km road that leads (almost straight) up to the Bellavista Lodge. Most of the group rode up in the back of the support truck, but me, Ross and Jill, attempted the steep, unforgiving climb to the lodge. After 45 painful minutes, I arrived to find the rest of the group cleaning up and settling in for happy hour, that tall Pilsner tasted terrific! We spent a relaxing night and following day exploring trails and enjoying the scenery at the Bellavista Lodge, Diego was ready to pick us up the next morning for our drive to the Rio Toachi. The trip of three hours took us from the cool cloud forest of Bellavista to the warm, humid Western Slope of the Andes. Our staging and the put-in point was a small field next to the river, and after inflating the rafts and receiving a safety briefing from Diego, we were ready to take on the rapids. Our red boat was the Huevos Fritos, while the other boat was the Yellow Submarine. We started down the river, slowly learning the proper strokes and rescue techniques, just in time as the first rapids began approaching. After successfully running a handful of rapids ranging in class, we took out to scout a nasty looking Class IV rapid. After some intense discussion by Diego and the other guide, we decided to run the rapid one boat at a time with a safety line at the ready. Then we changed our minds and decided to run the rapids together. Later we received a detailed lesson by Diego using rocks and sand as props to illustrate exactly how we were planning to run this rapid (and the ugly results if we fell out of the boat). Then we prayed. All of us nervous and apprehensive of flipping and getting caught in a torrent of water against a rock, we slowly pushed offshore. We floated in the calm water before the raging, gurgling water ahead of us, and then we ran the rapid with no problems! A handful of fierce rapids followed, and we eventually met up with the Rio Blanco for a bit more whitewater before our takeout point. While the group rested and dried clothes, Diego prepared yet another terrific lunch feast, this time burritos with beans, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, cheese and fruit, more plantains, and chocolate for dessert. The only thing left was to digest our food, and the 3-hour ride home gave us plenty of time. (Other than the stomach-churning road back to Quito and think blind double passes uphill around sharp curves in the fog by huge buses yikes!)
Bryan Rubin New York City